The Real Cost Of Speed

There are a number of factors said to cause vehicle accidents: fatigue, alcohol, and speed being the most prominent. Of these, the issue of speed and the validity of so-called safety cameras allegedly designed to slow drivers down is currently under scrutiny.

The fact is that the figures indicate that only 1 in 20 road accidents are caused by drivers breaking the speed limit which, on the surface, seems to suggest that speed is not a significant contributory factor. On the other hand, speeding is a more significant factor in fatal accidents. Add to this, the momentum of a high tonnage truck and the odds of surviving a crash are dramatically reduced. In fact, considering the kilometers travelled each year, the fatal crash rate for large trucks in Australia is fifty percent greater than for all other vehicles. And there has been an increase in the number of fatal accidents involving trucks in Australia over the past five years.

But lets put road safety aside and consider another issue: carbon emissions. The advice is that we can save on fuel consumption, and therefore save money, if we drive slower. Does it follow, therefore, that there would be less carbon emitted at lower speeds? Scania, one of the worlds most renowned heavy vehicle manufacturers, recently put this question to the test.

For its experiment, Scania sent two identical Scania R560 prime movers hauling loads of 59 tonnes each from Melbourne to Sydney: a journey of 768 km. One had its speed limited to 100 km/h and the other to 90 km/h. In Sydney, the speed limiters were reversed for the return trip to Melbourne to allow for individual differences in each truck.

Interestingly, the truck travelling at 90 km/h from Sydney to Melbourne was disadvantaged by the hill climbs out of Sydney and used only 11 litres less fuel that the truck travelling at 100 km/h compared to the Melbourne to Sydney trip where 45 litres less fuel was used at the slower speed. This 45 litres of fuel saved means that there was 118 kg less carbon dioxide emitted.

Averaging the savings, it was calculated that the saving on diesel alone, over a year, would amount to $10,000. Add the anticipated carbon tax and the saving would be even greater and expand this across a fleet of trucks and the shareholders will be smiling.

The other advantages of driving at the slower speed are less driver fatigue and stress, increased reaction time and, the potential to halt the increasing road fatalities from large trucks. And these advantages are there for drivers of other vehicles, too.

About the Author:
The author of this article has expertise in trucks. The articles on trucks australia reveals the authors knowledge on the same. The author has written many articles on prime movers as well.

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